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In his first official public address following the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared with a pale face, a troubled, anxious voice, and faltered in his speech. His eyes were filled with fear, and his words were filled with panic. Things are not the same anymore; the change that is occurring on the Arab street will impact upon the very heart of Israel. Arab regimes were once accused of possessing weapons of mass destruction, as a means to threaten Israel’s security, a claim which later turned out to be fabricated. However, there are now new, significant and effective weapons of mass destruction, genuinely threatening Israel’s security, namely the spirit of youth and modern technology.

It is amazing how the Arab youth employed modern technology to bring about political change. “Facebook”, the key social networking website, became a channel and means of gathering voices, and shaping a collective public opinion at lightning speed. “YouTube” became a mouthpiece, and an eyewitness to every statement, event or incident taking place in any location. “Twitter”, the micro-blogging website, enabled users to follow all key figures and news items instantaneously, from all available sources. We should also not forget the contributions of “Google”, as a means of investigation and research, the online encyclopedia “Wikipedia”, or “Wikileaks”, a website specifically designed for political or intelligence-related leaks.

For years, deceit and lies have been spread around the world, promoting the idea that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East. The West was taken in by such propaganda, and even started promoting it with fervent enthusiasm. In doing so, the West was actively ignoring the fact that genuine democracy would require a commitment to the rights, charters and treaties which Israel has deliberately ignored by occupying the Palestinian territories, violating international resolutions, persecuting non-Jewish Israelis and treating them as second-class citizens, without justice or equality. Israel is extremely concerned, or even terrified, by the prospect of what is happening in the Arab World. The wind of change and reform will reach the heart of Israel, and the Arabs who live there. They must replicate the Tunisian and Egyptian examples – stage massive protests until they obtain their rights. The Palestinians must derive the utmost benefits from what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. Their cause remains the primary concern in the Arab conscience, and Israel without doubt remains the biggest enemy in the collective Arab mindset.

Everyone is talking about what is happening these days in the region, and its impact on the Arab countries and regimes. Yet in doing so, people are discounting the influence [of the Arab uprising] on Israel, and its demographic composition. Small, timid movements of unrest are starting to occur in the occupied Golan Heights, Lod, Nazareth and Jaffa. These protests are only expected to increase. The Arabs living in Israel suffer from repression, injustice, imprisonment, a lack of rights, and encroachment upon their land, property and financial assets.

Israel is well aware that it cannot withstand the growing popular Arab protest against injustice and corruption, and its demands for reform. Israel could be the prime target of this mass Arab rage, in what would be the greatest ‘surprise’ of the Arab popular uprising. Two and a half million Arabs live in Israel, and similar numbers live in the West Bank and Gaza. They won’t keep silent for long.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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